|Body and chassis|
|Class||Small family car (C)|
|Body style||4-door hatchback|
|Engine||1.2 L I4, 59 PS (43 kW; 58 hp)|
1.4 L I4, 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) or 70 PS (51 kW; 69 hp)
|Wheelbase||2,530 mm (100 in)/|
2,560 mm (101 in)
|Length||4,025 mm (158.5 in)|
|Width||1,624 mm (63.9 in)|
|Height||1,405 mm (55.3 in)|
|Curb weight||855 kg (1,885 lb)-890 kg (1,962 lb)|
|Successor||Renault 9 & 11|
Featuring front wheel drive, the 14 was developed to compete in the small family hatchback sector, which had been popularized by the launch of the Volkswagen Golf in 1974. Initially, the 14 was available in L and TL trim levels with a 1.2 L single overhead camshaft engine and later 1.4 L versions with 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) (R14 GTL) or 70 PS (51 kW; 69 hp) (R14 TS) joined the line-up. Both units were the X-type engine (commonly known as the "Douvrin" or "Suitcase Engine") jointly developed with Peugeot, although the 14 turned to be the only Renault vehicle that used the unit. The design was generally well thought out and practical with interior space a major selling point, including a rear seat that could either be folded or removed completely. In addition, the spare wheel was carried at the front, under the bonnet and above the transverse 4-cylinder engine that was inclined backwards by 72°. Although all Renault cars were by now front wheel drive, the 14 was the first of the manufacturer's models to incorporate a space saving Mini-like transversely mounted engine. The exterior styling of the Renault 14 was praised by the motoring press as being fresh and ahead of its time and many[who?] have drawn a parallel between it and the later Peugeot 205 and even the Peugeot 306. On the other hand, the R14 lines seemed like a development on the theme of a late 1960s prototype by East German brand Wartburg, called Wartburg 353 (itself seemingly influenced by Renault's own Renault 16).
The 14 shared with several previous Renault models a rear suspension system using two full-width torsion bars positioned one behind the other, along with the resulting wheelbase difference of more than 1 inch (32 mm) between the left and right sides of the car.
For 1979 Renault sought to compensate for a slow start in the marketplace, widening the range upmarket with a "GTL" version of the car, taking its wheels and some other ornaments and interior styling cues from the newly launched Renault 18, and a "TS" with twin chamber carburetor and claimed power increase from 57 hp (43 kW) to 70 hp (52 kW). The TS model also included halogen headlamps and electric windows in the front, the latter being a first for this class of car in the French market.
The Renault 14 may have been one of the first front-wheel drive hatchbacks of its size to be produced in Europe, but within four years of its launch it was facing fierce competition from a growing number of similar products from rival manufacturers, particularly the Ford Escort MK3, Opel Kadett (Vauxhall Astra in the UK), Fiat Ritmo/Strada and Talbot Horizon. It was joined in the Renault range by the award-winning Renault 9 in 1981, the car which spawned the Renault 14's direct successor (the Renault 11) two years later.
Sales of the 14 were hampered by an advertising campaign that compared it to the shape of a pear. A preview at the Pompidou Centre in Paris as a bare bodyshell also did little to win customers. The car would later gain a reputation for premature body corrosion, which resulted in the 14 being dubbed the "rotten pear" by the motoring press. In France, "La poire"' (literally "the pear", but also slang for "gullible") still refers to the 14. However, the best-selling Renault 5 also had a reputation for premature body corrosion, but the stronger advertising of the R5 helped boost its sales and resulted in it being a sales hit.
The car also had a reputation for being difficult to start in damp conditions. The placement of the temperature gauge on the transmission tunnel behind the gear-lever, rather than on the instrument panel where it was directly in the driver's field of view, led to incidents of engine damage if the engine overheated and the driver failed to notice.
For 1980, Renault attempted to improve sales by relaunching the car with improved equipment levels and a minor facelift that included, most obviously from the outside, repositioned front indicators and reworked front fenders. This proved insufficient, and production ended in 1983 with precisely 993,193 units sold over a period of just under seven years. Initial production was 325 cars per day, which had been scheduled to increase to 700 in 1977 and to nearly 1,000 in 1978. This never materialised, as sales peaked very early in the R14's life. Sales in the domestic French market did improve somewhat with the redesign. The R14 is now a rare sight on the roads of Europe, even in its native France where they tended to last longer due to easy parts availability through the extensive dealer network. Many Renault 14s were used by the French police in the 1980s.
Its joint successors, the 9 and 11 appeared in 1981 and early 1983, respectively. The front end of the pre-facelift Renault 9 looked similar to the front end of the post-facelift Renault 14. However, both the Renault 9 and 11 had more conservative exterior body styling. Nevertheless, Peugeot used more than a few styling cues from the Renault 14 when designing its Peugeot 306, launched some 10 years after the cancellation of the R14.
As of 2018, just 9 Renault 14s remained taxed and on the roads in the UK.
- 1976 - The Renault 14 was launched in L and TL trim levels, both of which came with a 1.2 litre Peugeot engine.
- 1979 - The higher-specification R14 TS was added to the lineup, providing more power thanks to a twin-chamber carburetor.
- 1979 - Model name changes: the R14 L became the R14, while the R14 TL became the R14 GTL.
- 1980 - The R14 TS gained a larger 1.4 litre engine.
- 1980 - The R14 LS was added, featuring the 1.4 litre engine from the TS but a more basic equipment specification like the R14.
- 1982 - The R14 GTL got a lower-powered economy-tune version of the 1.4 litre engine from the LS and TS.
- 1983 - Production of the R14 ended; the car was replaced by the Renault 9/11.
- Data according to: Automobil Revue, catalogue edition 1979, p. 470-71.
- Costa, André & Georges-Michel Fraichard, ed. (September 1981). "Salon 1981: Toutes les Voitures du Monde". l'Auto Journal (in French). Paris: Homme N°1 (14 & 15): 116.
- "Renault 14: When Renault decided to build the 14,they elected to do so in a new factory...". Autocar. 19 March 1977. p. 41.
- "Midi-Renault". The Motor. 29 May 1976. pp. 24–26.
- "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1979 (salon 1978). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 84s: 44, 48–49. 2006.
- Glon, Ronan. "Road test: 1980 Renault 14 TL". Ran When Parked. Archived from the original on 2017-11-10.
- Thevenet, Jean-Paul, ed. (January 1977). "30 jours d'automobile" [30 days of the automobile]. L'Automobile (in French). Neuilly, France: Societé des Editions Techniques et Touristiques de France (367): 4.
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